Yildirim Guides Garnet to Victory over Gold

Aug. 18, 2012


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Senior outside hitter Fatma Yildirim’s 22-kill, 17-dig performance stood out in the Florida State indoor volleyball team’s first audition of the season as she led the Garnet team to a 3-2 (25-22, 25-17, 25-19, 21-25, 13-15) victory over Gold on Saturday evening at the annual Garnet-Gold scrimmage at Tully Gym.

In what was the first live action of the season in front of a good crowd, Yildirim’s senior leadership and experience showed as she was comfortable all evening on her hard-hitting attacks. Yildirim, who is an Istanbul, Turkey, native, led all hitters with a .364 hitting percentage as she produced just six attack errors in the predetermined five-set match.

“Fatma played the way we expected her to play and need her to play,” head coach Chris Poole said. “She played like an experienced veteran. People who follow our program know Fatma was a huge part of our success in helping us to the Elite Eight in 2009. She played the way we know she is capable of. I’m excited to see the confidence in her because she’s one of our most dedicated and hardest workers.”

The Garnet team, which included all three alumnae in middle blockers Brianna Barry and Jordana Price as well as libero Jenna Romanelli, was dominant through the first three sets before the Gold squad won the final two sets.

Also tallying a double-double for the Garnet team was freshman outside hitter Nicole Walch, one of three Stuart, Fla., residents. Walch finished with 19 kills and 14 digs, progressing well as the match went on.

Senior middle blocker/right-side hitter Marija Milosavljevic had double-digit kill totals, producing 10 kills, a .333 hitting percentage and four service aces. Senior setter Duygu Duzceler performed well all evening, finishing with 55 assists as she helped the Garnet to a .250 hitting percentage. Duzceler added 14 digs for a double-double.

Making her unofficial debut for FSU was freshman libero Laura Dadowski, who finished with 13 digs. Preseason All-ACC Team member Ashley Neff and Milosavljevic recorded five blocks apiece.

The Gold team featured the younger unit filled with several of FSU’s prized freshmen. Outside hitter Leah Mikesky was the focal point of the team’s attack, recording 16 kills and 12 digs as she posted a strong debut. Sarah Burrington and preseason All-ACC team player Sareea Freeman helped give the Gold team a 13-8.5 edge in blocks, as Burrington totaled five while Freeman added six.

“Overall, we battled hard and had some good rallies,” Poole added. “We had some missed serves and net calls, and that is why a match like this is so important to get the butterflies out. You make mistakes and go out and play.

“Overall, the freshmen played very well for it to be their first game. Leah and Nicole did an outstanding job. Sarah (Burrington) and Mara were big and athletic at the net. I’m very excited about each of their futures.”

Sophomore setter Sarah Wickstrom made her presence felt all over the court, totaling 42 assists and a match-high 24 digs. Junior Elise Walch added nine kills and four blocks, while redshirt sophomore Katie Mosher finished with 13 digs. Mosher is also a member of the 2012 Preseason All-ACC Team.

The Seminoles set their focus once again on the upcoming regular season, which begins next Friday, Aug. 24 with a tough match at No. 15 Tennessee at 7 p.m. ET. FSU will then face No. 10 Iowa State on Aug. 25 at noon ET, followed by a match against Cincinnati at 5:30 p.m. to conclude the Comcast Lady Vol Classic in Knoxville, Tenn.

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